Dear Linnea: Your First Father’s Day.

Dear Linnea,

Today is a very special day. It's a day where we get to tell Daddy how much we love him and how special he is to us! But not just Daddy- Pap Pap too! Not that we don't tell them this every day- but today is their day, set aside special just for them. I have so much to share with you about why I love Daddy and Pap Pap as much as I do- but these are all things you will learn on your own, of that I am sure. But for now, I just want to share with you the things that make them so special to your Mama in particular- so here are a couple of notes that I wrote to each of them that I want to share with you. We'll start with Pap Pap and end with Daddy. Sound good?

"Dad… I don't know how to begin to tell you how thankful I am that you are my dad, and I am your baby girl. I am thankful that your heart attack occurred in God's perfect timing so that the doctors could work their magic and give you more time with us, and especially your new granddaughter, because you are the center of our family, and we all love you so much. I cherish anew the time we have together, and I hope you know that you are always on my heart even if we don't talk every day. You are smart, brave, loving, kind, and strong, and if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be where I am today- and while I have a long way to go, with your guidance and example, I know it can be done! You have never failed any of us- not ONCE- and that is quite a feat. You have always been there for all of us kids and we can only hope we will be as good to our little ones as you have been to us. Now that I'm a mom I understand things about you that I didn't get when I was younger. Thank you for being everything we need and so much more. I love you so, so much."


"Cody- My dear, dear husband. Watching you grow as a man as a result of our sweet Linnea's arrival in our life has been a blessing. Seeing how much she adores her Daddy is more than my heart can take sometimes. She has felt that way about you since the day she was born- always calm and comforted in your arms. She will be the little girl who runs to greet you every day when you get home from work- for now, you are met with the biggest, most beautiful smile in the world. There's no question that we have a Daddy's Girl in our house. This whole process of bringing a new life into the world has made me fall more in love with you than ever; made me appreciate you more than ever. You do so much to take care of us, and I trust that you will make the right decisions and the best decisions as the leader of our family. Thank you for being so good to us, but more than that I know you will never, ever do anything less than what is best and out of loving kindness for LJ. If God blesses us with more kids, I know they will be in the best, most capable hands with you as their dad. But for now, our little LJ couldn't be more fortunate to have you for her Daddy. We both love you with all our hearts."

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Linnea Alley-69

So, my sweet Linnea, like I said, today is a very special day. We're going to go with your Daddy to go see Pap Pap this afternoon, and you're going to sit there and be cute and smile and giggle at them because you make their day by just being you, much like your Daddy makes your day just by being him. While it comes naturally to you now, someday you will fully comprehend just how special and irreplaceable your Daddy is in your heart. Your Pap Pap holds that special place in your Mama's heart, and he always will. And that is one of the most precious gifts that God will ever give you. I will do my best to always remind you of what an amazing man your Daddy is, and how deeply he loves his little Linnea Joelle.

I love you always, sweetheart.


One year ago: Dear Linnea.

Dear Linnea,

One year ago, my life changed forever and ever. One year ago, I learned that I had a little one growing in my belly. That little one is you.

On May 13, I woke up feeling a little funny- shaky legs, weak, nauseous. I thought I was anemic again- I was borderline in college, so I thought I needed to find a family doctor so I could go get checked out. I texted my (clairvoyant) friend Jessica to ask if they had a family doctor she would recommend, and her response?


Apparently if she so much as thinks that someone is pregnant, there's a 100% chance that she is.

I denied that it was even a possibility, even though it completely was. I mean, after all, I was actually starting to wonder if your dad and I could even have kids, because honestly at that point it was kind of crazy that we hadn't gotten pregnant yet. And three days before this fateful day, we had a discussion about whether or not we even wanted kids- we were so not ready to have one that we thought, heck, we'll probably just be fine if we never have kids! 

But with the idea firmly planted in my head, I started to do some research online. And as I learned things I never knew about the symptoms of pregnancy, all of which I had, and I thought about the happy hour I was planning to attend later in the week with my friends, where I would probably have a couple of beers, and that if I'm pregnant I can't have any beers, so I'd better be sure that I'm not before I go, I made that fateful if not prophetic trip to Walgreens to pick up a pack of pregnancy tests, where I was ambushed by an employee whose sister had an eerily parallel story to mine, and said employee was super excited for the child that may or may not be residing in my uterus. If that run-on sentence is any indication of the whirlwind that day was, the events leading up to the positive outcome of the pregnancy test I took pales in comparison to the emotions I felt when I learned that I was the mother I wasn't even sure I wanted to be.

But now I'm your mom, and I can't imagine my life any other way. You were a big surprise, but the best surprise I've EVER received. You're a miracle and a life-changer. You're an angel on earth. Sometimes I wonder if you were timed to save my life, but even if none of the medical issues I've faced since learning of you were even there, I wouldn't question the gift that you are. I never thought I would want more than one kid if I was blessed with one (because no matter what, kids are a blessing), but now you're here and your daddy and I want to give you a brother or sister. But, my little one, if you are the only one God has planned for us, we are completely OK with that. You have filled my heart to the point that I think it would just burst at any time, and I wouldn't change the outcome of that day if my life depended on it.

So, on this anniversary of the discovery of you, I am on my way with you and Auntie Jessica for a girls' weekend in California with Auntie Amber. I love that we're spending this time with my dearest friends who were there from the very beginning of my journey toward knowing and loving you. But the best thing of all is that you are here with us. A happy, healthy little girl so full of life and joy for whom I will be forever grateful.

Yes, indeed. One year ago, my life changed forever and ever. I will never forget that special day as long as I live. And now I'm going to go wake you up from your nap so I can kiss your precious cheeks over and over and appreciate that you are in my life and in my heart for the rest of my days.
With all my love,